Verner Award recipients promote arts education with grants
If you don't have a "Cracked Rear View," you might recall that South Carolina band Hootie & The Blowfish received the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Award for the Arts for lifetime achievement in 2016.
The iconic quartet is still giving back to its home state. The Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation announced its second annual multi-year grant cycle donations, granting a total of $90,000 over three years to three South Carolina charities that benefit child welfare and youth arts programs within the state. The youth arts programs are:
- Abbeville County School District: Putting Students First, One Beat at a Time. This program will assist the district’s schools with purchasing musical instruments for students who have an interest in band.
- Dillon School District Four: Stayin’ the Chorus. This program will send choral students to regional performances and competitions and help purchase music classroom materials.
Epworth Children's Home in Columbia received the other grant. These projects join the inaugural projects from the 2017 Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation grant cycle, which are entering their second year of funding: Carolina Youth Development Center, Growing Home Southeast, and Long Bay Symphonic Society.
, Jim Sonefeld
, Dean Felber
, and Mark Bryan
embraced their fortuitous career with the communities that support them. To this end, the band members created an endowment that ensures their foundation will last into perpetuity providing financial support to charitable initiatives throughout South Carolina and beyond.
Since the endowment’s creation in 2000, the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation has awarded more than $2.9 million in grants. These grants have impacted thousands of citizens by supporting the ongoing fight for an even playing field in educational funding and lending an encouraging hand to all those in need.
Hootie & the Blowfish established their donor-advised fund at Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Midlands’ center for philanthropy, to strengthen the Hootie & the Blowfish Foundation’s philanthropic efforts. The Community Foundation acts as a centralized point of contact for all grant requests and manages its grant administration, evaluation, outreach and distribution.
About Central Carolina Community Foundation
Central Carolina Community Foundation, the Midlands’ center for philanthropy, is a nonprofit organization serving 11 counties in the Midlands by distributing grants and scholarships and linking the resources of donors, nonprofits and area leaders to communities in need. Major initiatives include the Midlands Gives online giving challenge, Connected Communities grants, On the Table, Powered by Central Carolina Community Foundation, the One SC Fund, the Best of Philanthropy Awards, annual scholarships, and more. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.yourfoundation.org
Verner Award highlights: Nikky Finney and Hootie and the Blowfish
Poet Nikky Finney and Hootie and the Blowfish are ambassadors for South Carolina, using their success and celebrity status to draw attention to the benefits of the arts. Read more about these recipients of the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Governor's Awards for the Arts below, and find out more about all of the activities taking place as part of the South Carolina Arts Awards on May 11.
Nikky Finney was born in South Carolina, within listening distance of the sea. A child of activists, she came of age during the Civil Rights and Black Arts Movements. At Talladega College, nurtured by Hale Woodruff's Amistad murals, Finney began to understand the powerful synergy between art and history.
Finney has authored four books of poetry: On Wings Made of Gauze (1985); Rice (1995); The World Is Round (2003); and Head Off & Split (2011), which received the National Book Award for poetry in 2011. Finney’s electrifying acceptance speech prompted the ceremony's emcee, actor John Lithgow, to proclaim, "That's the best acceptance for anything I've ever heard in my life." Head Off & Split was also selected as the 2015-2016 First Year Book by University of Maryland, College Park, providing an opportunity for students and faculty to delve into complex topics using a common text.
Finney writes extensively for journals, magazines and other publications. Her new work includes The Battle of and for the Black Face Boy, commissioned in 2013 by the University of Maryland and published in the fall 2015 issue of Oxford American, the first feature-length poem to be published in the literary magazine.
Finney’s other awards and honors include a PEN American Open Book Award for Rice in 1997, the Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council in 1999, induction into the Hall of Fame for Writers of African Descent in 2002, and the Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Booksellers Association for The World is Round in 2004,
In 2013, Finney returned to South Carolina as The John H. Bennett, Jr. Chair in Creative Writing and Southern Letters and Literature at the University of South Carolina after teaching creative writing at the University of Kentucky for 21 years.
Watch the video of Finney's National Book Award acceptance speech.
Hootie and the Blowfish
Hootie and the Blowfish members Darius Rucker, Mark Bryan, Dean Felber and Jim “Soni” Sonefeld met when they were freshmen at the University of South Carolina. The band sold over 25 million records worldwide after their debut album Cracked Rear View hit the airwaves in 1994. At the end of the year, Cracked Rear View and the band won two Grammys, an MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist, a Billboard Music Award for Album of the Year, a People's Choice Award for Album of the Year and a People's Choice Award for Best Selling Artist, a feat they duplicated in 1996. Cracked Rear View remains the 12th best-selling album in music business history.
The band grew up in an environment where education and music were important. Knowing how fortunate they were, they have a strong desire to improve education in their home state, funding programs that help provide a well-rounded and meaningful education based in practical studies and the arts.
The band established the Hootie and the Blowfish Foundation in 2000 through the Central Carolina Community Foundation. The majority of funding comes from the annual Hootie and the Blowfish Monday after the Masters Golf Tournament. The event, created to support education and music programs nationwide, has raised over $2 million to date for multiple causes. Support ranges from building community learning centers to outfitting school marching bands to simply providing educators with the tools they need to nurture children's talents and help them succeed. In 2001, the band was involved in VH1’s Save the Music Foundation’s South Carolina kickoff, performing with students at the Statehouse to draw attention to improving the quality of music education in public schools.
In addition to Monday After the Masters, the foundation also puts on various events throughout the year, including Hootie's Homegrown Roundup, a back to school program held in August each year to benefit the children of Charleston County School District. More than 12,000 students have benefited from the Roundup since the program’s inception in 2007.
Although band members have had successful solo careers, they still consider themselves a band, performing together to benefit the causes they believe in. They willingly use their celebrity status as successful artists to draw attention to and benefit South Carolina. Their leadership in providing support and funding for education, particularly music education, has had a significant impact on the state and beyond.
2016 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Award recipients announced
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2016 Elizabeth O’Neill Verner Governor’s Awards for the Arts! The S.C. Arts Commission annually presents the awards, the highest honor the state gives in the arts, to recognize outstanding achievement and contributions to the arts in South Carolina. Awards will be presented May 11 at 11 a.m. during a ceremony at the Statehouse.
This year’s recipients:
"Each of these Verner Award recipients has attracted positive national attention for the Palmetto State," said S.C. Arts Commission Chairman Henry Horowitz. "Their dedication to the arts greatly benefits South Carolinians and materially enhances our state’s economic vitality. Their contributions regionally and nationally are a source of pride for South Carolinians living anywhere. The Verner Awards recognize service, commitment and passion, and we are honored to have these individuals and organizations working to enhance our state's reputation as a leader in the arts."
Also on May 11, the S.C. Arts Foundation
will honor the recipients and the arts community at the South Carolina Arts Gala
, a fundraiser supporting the programs of the S.C. Arts Commission. The gala begins at 7:15 p.m. in the Grand Hall, 701 Whaley St. in Columbia. Gala tickets are $75 per person and may be purchased online
The 2016 Verner Awards are sponsored by Colonial Life.
For more about the Verner Awards or the S.C. Arts Gala, call (803) 734-8696 or visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com
About the South Carolina Arts Commission
The South Carolina Arts Commission is the state agency charged with creating a thriving arts environment that benefits all South Carolinians, regardless of their location or circumstances. Created by the South Carolina General Assembly in 1967, the Arts Commission works to increase public participation in the arts by providing services, grants and leadership initiatives in three areas: arts education, community arts development and artist development. Headquartered in Columbia, S.C., the Arts Commission is funded by the state of South Carolina, by the federal government through the National Endowment for the Arts and other sources. For more information, visit www.SouthCarolinaArts.com
or call (803) 734-8696.
Students! Show off your talent!
Entry deadline: March 8
The BB&T “This School’s Got Talent” competition is back! South Carolina’s most exciting, fan-voted, statewide student talent contest is returning for its third year.
Celebrity judges from the GRAMMY Award-winning super-group Hootie & The Blowfish will help select the top entries. The final videos will then be posted online and the public will vote on the winner.
The student deemed most talented will earn the opportunity to perform live at the televised “South Carolina Teacher of the Year Celebration” on May 1 in Columbia. The winner will also be invited to perform at the opening concert for the BMW Charity Pro-Am presented by SYNNEX Corporation on May 17. BMW, the presenting sponsor of the state Teacher of the Year Celebration, will allow the talent show winner to perform with members of the Hootie and the Blowfish Band and other celebrity performers.
The contest is open to public school students in grades one through 12 in all South Carolina school districts. To enter, adults 18 or older may submit videos of students showcasing their skills. Videos must be at least 30 seconds in length and may not exceed five minutes in length. Visit the SC Future Minds Facebook page
The submission period for video entries began February 4, 2013, and ends at midnight on March 8, 2013. Finalists will be announced on or before March 15, and public voting via Facebook will begin. Viewers may cast their vote for each video one time per day during the voting period. There are no age restrictions on voting. Voting period will end at midnight on March 31.
The winner will be announced on April 1, 2013.
Visit the SC Future Minds Facebook page
for more information and to watch a performance of the 2012 winner, Hannah Peeples.
Via: SC Future Minds